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  • Thumbnail for Poem and Cypress Trees
    Poem and Cypress Trees by Konoe Nobutada and Hasegawa Tohaku

    Among Konoe Nobutada's masterpieces is this six-panel screen that includes a waka poem - energetically inscribed in oversized kana - surrounding a sensitively brushed ink painting of a cypress grove. Recent scholarship has attributed the painting to Hasegawa Tohaku, based on a stylistic comparison to the brushwork and artistic expression of his famous Pines in Mist. - John T Carpenter

  • Thumbnail for Crane Scroll, Part 1
    Crane Scroll, Part 1 by Sotatsu, Tawaraya , Koetsu, Hon'ami

    The scroll, almost fifteen meters long, was designed to be viewed section by section. Delicate silver cranes dance across a golden shore, gliding through clouds of gold, sometimes in graceful formation, other times frolicking. The lavish gold and silver under painting, attributed to Tawaraya Sotatsu, captures the eye first, however it was not intended to be viewed as a self-sustaining composition, but rather as a background to highlight the darlky inked strokes created by the calligrapher's brush. Boldly inscribed by Hon'ami Koetsu in his distinctive calligraphic style, the texts include famous court verses, one by each of the Thirty-six Immortal Poets 0 famous poets of ancient Japan. - from text by John Carpenter.

  • Thumbnail for Dish with PineTree Motif
    Dish with PineTree Motif

    Late 17th - early 18th century work produced at the official Nabeshima clan kiln in present-day Saga Prefecture.

  • Thumbnail for Set of Utensils for the Incense Game
    Set of Utensils for the Incense Game

    In the Heian period, the fragrance of aromatic wood was enjoyed by members of court society. The appreciation of incense became formalized in the Muromachi period, and many varieties of monko, literally listening to the incense" were established. Throughout the Edo period, enthusiasts of this widely popular game included members of the warrior class. This set of incense utensils is decorated with such plants and flowers as bush clover, chrysanthemum, peony, camelia, iris, and bamboo arranged in circular motifs in slightly raised gold takamaki-e lacquer." - Suzuki Norio

  • Thumbnail for Writing Table and Writing Utensil Box
    Writing Table and Writing Utensil Box

    Bundai (writing table) and suzuribako (writing utensil box) decorated with a combination of bamboo, paulownia, and the phoenix. The background is done using a technique known as nashiji, similar in appearance to the skin of the nashi, or Japanese pear, in which metal flakes are suspended in lacquer.

  • Thumbnail for Mt. Fuji in Lacquer
    Mt. Fuji in Lacquer

    A lacquer likeness of Mt. Fuji at a Fuji shrine

  • Thumbnail for Buddhist Monks
    Buddhist Monks

    Buddhist monks with novice at the turn of the century.

  • Thumbnail for Oyoroi  Samurai Armor
    Oyoroi Samurai Armor

    Oyoroi (literally "great armor") was the loose-fitting defensive armor of mounted archers that was developed late in the Heian period. It is made chiefly of leather and iron bound together to form horizontal tiers.

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi Sutemaru and Toy Boat
    Toyotomi Sutemaru and Toy Boat

    The boat is said to have been one of Sutemaru's toys. Resembling a real boat, it has a small cabin at the helm and another at the stern. A board with wheels is attached to the bottom of the boat so that it can be pulled.

  • Thumbnail for Nagasaki Middle School
    Nagasaki Middle School

    A Nagasaki middle school performance of traditional dances.

  • Thumbnail for Sakuma Shogen
    Sakuma Shogen

    Depiction of Sakuma Shogen Sanekatsu (1570-1642) sitting in front of a bamboo screen facing his boy attendant. A warrior who first served Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), Sakuma then seved three successive generations of Tokugawa shoguns: Ieyasu, Hidetada, and Iemitsu.

  • Thumbnail for Shrine Roof with Flag
    Shrine Roof with Flag

    The Japanese flag waves proudly from the roof of a shrine in Nagasaki.

  • Thumbnail for British Soldiers and Japanese Geisha
    British Soldiers and Japanese Geisha

    British soldiers and sailors were made welcome at a gala affair in Hibiya Park after the Japanese British Alliance of 1902 was implemented.

  • Thumbnail for Toyotomi Sutemaru
    Toyotomi Sutemaru

    Portrait sculpture of Toyotomi Sutemaru (1589-1591), the first son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), died when he was just two years old. Hideyoshi built Shounji in eastern Kyoto as the child's memorial temple. This portrait was enshrined there. Made of polychromed wood.

  • Thumbnail for School Uniforms
    School Uniforms

    As I was eating breakfast one morning, my host-sister, Yuuki-chan came down in her school uniform. Even though she went to public school, she was required to wear a uniform.

  • Thumbnail for Embarkation Card
    Embarkation Card

    An example of an embarkation card, which everyone entering Japan must fill out.

  • Thumbnail for Unzen Torii
    Unzen Torii

    A giant torii on a mountain path notifies hikers of a nearby shrine.

  • Thumbnail for The Street Where They Lived
    The Street Where They Lived

    Photo of the huge red-light district in Tokyo known as Yoshiwara, which flourished for more than three hundred years.

  • Thumbnail for Sumo Champion
    Sumo Champion

    Futabayam Sadaji (1912-1968) remains a magic name in sumo. The 35th Yokozuna, his record of 69 straight wins still stands. This is a picture of him after he won the summer tournament in 1936.

  • Thumbnail for Ema
    Ema by Motonobu, Kano

    This painting by Kano Motonobu (1476-1559) shows a spirited steed, restrained by two lines leading from its bridle to stakes in the foreground.

  • Thumbnail for Chujo mask
    Chujo mask

    The Chujo mask represents a young aristocrat of early times, with light complexion, high painted eyebrows, and teeth blackened (ohaguro). Traditionally, this mask type is said to have been modeled after Ariwa no Narihira, the famous poet of the Heian period whose court rank was chujo, middle captain, in the headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards. The Chujo mask is used for the role of Prince Genji in the Tale of Genji, and for other courtiers. While Chujo is typically carved with a melancholic exprssion and knitted brows, these ualities are especially formalized and given emphasis in this mask. It was owned by the Konparu family, one of the four main groups of Noh actors. - Matsushima Ken

  • Thumbnail for Sword Guards
    Sword Guards by Rakuju

    A verdant growth of dew-laden pampas grass, the moon shining through it, has long symbolized Musashino, the broad grassy plain where the warriors of eastern Japan created the shogunal capital, Edo. As early as the Heian period Musashino served as a theme for literature and painting, and in the Momoyama period the bending, swaying, moonlit grasses became commonplace in the decorative arts as well. This pair of iron tsuba, large and small for a daisho set of swords, is finely decorated with the requisite pampas grass, dew, and crescent moon in openwork, and further ornamented with a hammered-gold inlaid floral scroll. The artist's name, Rakuju, is inlaid in gold to the left of the tang holes. - Hiroi Yuichi

  • Thumbnail for Anime Magazines
    Anime Magazines

    Magazines specializing in manga and anime.

  • Thumbnail for River Shrine
    River Shrine

    On a man-made island in the middle of a small river sits several statues and pillars in honor of the river god.

  • Thumbnail for In Ruins
    In Ruins

    The Ginza area of Tokyo. It is estimated that one-hundred thousand people died during the Great Kanto Earthquake, which destroyed most of Yokohama and Tokyo when it struck on Sept. 1, 1923.